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October 5, 2006 -- A Kyrgyz Muslim nongovernmental group is petitioning Prime Minister Feliks Kulov to allow veiled women to keep their heads covered when being photographed for administrative purposes.
Jamal Frontbek-kyzy said her women's group, Mutakalim, had already collected 30,000 supporters in a signature drive that it expects to send to Kulov.
In support to her demands, she said veiled women in Kazakhstan and Tatarstan had been issued passports where they appear with their heads covered.
Disputes stemming from authorities' reluctance to allow women to wear head scarves in official photographs have long pitted conservative religious elements against opponents who say such a policy would compromise security and other state interests.
Roughly three-quarters of Kyrgyzstan's population is Muslim.